|This year, Josie Thomas received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, one of our nation’s most prestigious congressionally recognized awards honoring leaders in the areas of tolerance, brotherhood and diversity.|
When Joe Ianniello reiterated CBS’ unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion in a recent memo, the message also strongly supported the work that CBS’ Diversity and Inclusion team does every day. Learn more about a key force behind the Company’s D&I work, Josie Thomas, EVP, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, who shares more on the evolution of her CBS career and what makes her proud.
|How did your early life help shape your path?
I grew up in Minneapolis with a very civil-rights active family. My mother, Josie Johnson, was a trailblazing leader who fought for fairness in housing, education and employment. The persistence to keep pushing for change no matter how elusive it may seem was ingrained in me from the start. My Mom never gave up, and at age 88 she still hasn’t – she just published a memoir called HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE. She’s the ultimate role model.
Tell us about your CBS career.
I started my CBS career as Broadcast Counsel in the Law Department, working with Entertainment, Sports and News. Over time, I was promoted to Vice President of Business Affairs at CBS News, where I became known as someone who could work with all kinds of personalities and who built a successful team with people of different backgrounds and perspectives. When the issue of representation became a hot-button item, I was given the opportunity to develop and lead a brand-new Diversity Department at CBS.
Our initial focus was on expanding representation in our primetime programming and seeking greater diversity in all phases of the creative process. To do so, we created a way to give diverse talent access to opportunities and decision makers through the CBS Diversity Institute. We also created the CBS Diversity Council , working with Human Resources to improve workforce diversity. Diversity is not just a buzzword – it’s a business innovation imperative. If you don’t have an environment where diverse people are included and heard, you’re going to miss out on the next big thing.